Just Keep Dancing Julie
This blog is a little different as it’s covering a song and video I produced recently about a life changing experience that happened to someone very close to me. That nature of the story was and still is very sensitive, though I hope by sharing both the story and song/video it will bring about gratitude for what we have and empathy for those who’s lives are extremely challenging. Below is the story behind the song and how the song and video were created.
THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG
Just Keep Dancing was inspired by Julie, a talented, sweet and generous human who out of the blue, woke up to a completely new reality. One day she was living her dream professionally dancing and the next she was dealing with a life changing disease, that being Leukaemia.
Watching Julie and her family go through this unbelievably horrible process has been truly heartbreaking and so I wanted to create something that was uplifting, motivating and just feel good music. I figured if I could just capture and inject just a little bit of happiness in the middle of this experience, it was worth it. Then if other people could connect to the music within their own journey, that was a bonus.
Both the track and video feature close friends of Julie’s and their experiences both prior and post her diagnosis. Given that we were all working on a cruise ship in The Caribbean at the time, the video features a lot of lively and colourful visuals which I thought was perfect for the track.
Julie is currently unable to walk properly (let alone dance) due to the nature of her body reacting to the chemotherapy. Naturally this is a sensitive topic to her and her family and although her body may be fragile, her mind is strong and we are all hoping to see her dancing again very soon.
If you want to read more about Julie’s journey and donate, head to https://www.gofundme.com/help-julie-leblanc-fight
MAKING THE SONG AND VIDEO AT SEA
Being on a cruise ship in the middle of the caribbean limits your ability to access a recording studio or simply find the space to use studio speakers to mix your music (keeping in mind attempting to bring them on a plane to the ship you’re living on for 7 months). Fortunately, I have generous friends and the freedom to produce music at my own rate and the way I choose to. So in this case, that included me borrowing my friends usb mic and hiding in the back dressing rooms of the ship to record the vocals and saxophone. Hilariously frustrating was the fact that the ship is never silent – whether it’s the A/C or in this case, the repairs going on literally around the corner from my diy “studio”. This meant there was a lot of start stopping and plenty of wav forms that included “tasteful” blips of power drills jealously drowning any other sounds from there apparent sonic territory.
Also at the time my studio headphones broke so I was stuck with using iPod headphones and a travelling bose recreational speaker to cross reference anything….(props to Tristan Hogland for taking the stems and doing the final mix for me). Obviously this all leads to things not coming out perfect and moments where you wish you could’ve had a proper studio/mix etc but in the end….the song got made and I feel the intentions translate and that’s what really matters to me.
Having a generous dancing/production cast willing to be involved, various ports and parties to film made making a fun film clip relatively simple. To put another way, being surrounded by fun, creative and kind people made this process simple and memorable. I really have a long list of people to thank (you know who you are) and am very grateful for everyones contribution to make this song and video happen.
All in all it’s great to have some new music out there and I would love to see it helping Julie and her family or anyone who needs even a mid week pick up. So far my journey as a musician and just a human being has lead me to conclude that life is so unbelievably precious and fragile, and as tacky/cheesy/uncool it may be to claim, I feel strongly that if you can truly communicate with integrity and actually listen to people (I mean really listen), that is enough to turn around someones day….Sure, a day seems trivial but the bleed on effect of someone really listening to you in todays separated and fear driven society can be a game changer. These days the genuine care factor seems to be a rare commodity….
Now i don’t claim to have oodles or wisdom or plan to awkwardly turn this into a lecture on how to be a better person (cause I am certainly not qualified to hand out those suggestions)….but the more I travel and experience, the more I learn how unbelievably separated we are and in the least “new age” (bullshit) way…I don’t want to live in a world like that….
At the end of the day, anything can change at any moment and you just don’t know how that will impact your life. For Julie, her diagnoses has been an unbelievably challenging pill to swallow, day after day….her journey is a horrible but very real reminder that we are all fragile human beings who have to deal with a lot of bullshit at various times in our lives. If we can all keep dancing in the midst of our journeys here, I feel that generally tends to help.